7 Tips For Choosing the Right Domain Name

When you set up your business web site, choosing a domain name is one of the most important steps you’ll take. This domain name will “go on your permanent record,” so to speak; this is how people will find your web site, now and in the future. You want to make sure that you choose a domain name that will help you build your business. While it may seem like a minor detail, this is a very important decision.

The following tips will help you choose your domain name well:

1.  Know what you want your domain name to do. Many people use their domain names primarily to introduce themselves, especially when they’re networking locally. For instance, a photographer might have a domain name such as JudyTaylorPhotography.com. That works well as an introduction, but if her goal is to market herself on the web as a baby photographer, she might do better with Philadelphia-Baby-Photograpy.com.

2. Use keywords in your domain name to market your business. If you intend for your domain name to be more than an electronic business card, you should research and include keywords that people will search for to find you. For instance, if you sell vintage Mustangs in Waco, Texas, you might use a domain name such as Texas-Vintage-Mustangs.com or Waco-Vintage-Mustangs.com.

3. Use hyphens to make your domain name more search engine friendly. While your customers might remember TexasVintageMustangs.com just fine, or even more easily, search engines may not see all the keywords unless you use hyphens. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing a domain name for marketing purposes.

4. Use a reputable domain registrar. There are a few big companies selling domains, and some smaller companies reselling for those companies. There are also a few low-end, independent companies selling domains. Watch out for these small registrars; not too long ago one of them went out of business and refused to release their records to another registrar until a court intervened. Their customers’ domains were unreachable for several days. Many of the large, reputable companies are very competitive in price. Make sure you’re working with a company you can trust.

5. Get a dot-com name if possible. It may be harder to find your chosen name with a dot-com extension, but it is well worth the effort to brainstorm and research possible names that are available with a dot-com extension. People tend to memorize your domain name, or try to. If they think it’s JoesPlumbing.com and your address is actually JoesPlumbing.net, you may lose business to another Joe.

6. Research similar domain names. If you intend to register The-Online-Golf-Store.com, keep in mind that you may lose business to Online-Golf-Store.com, just because people forget the “the.” Know what similar domains are registered, and to whom, and make sure you choose a unique name.

7. Remember you can direct two or more domains to the same website. If you are not sure which domain name serves your business better, or if you would like to market yourself with multiple domain names, you can point each name to your main website and use all the domains you want.